Successful Aging among Immigrants after Midlife

Abstract

Relocation by crossing borders can be a risky endeavor, regardless of the amount of resources and support one receives. While many immigrants experience stress by functioning in a foreign language and culture, aging in a foreign environment can lead to an additional burden among older people. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated that the number of immigrants age 65 years or older reached an unprecedented high of 5 million in 2010, representing approximately 12% of the total foreign-born population. The growing number of older immigrants, coupled with the diversity of various ethnic groups, highlights the critical need to promote the well-being for these older immigrants. This study explored the current status of physical and psychological well-being of immigrants from six different ethnic groups (Bosnian, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Latino/na, and Vietnamese). Data were collected through interview surveys with immigrants who were 40 years old and older (n=330). These six groups present distinctive differences in the entry to the U.S., racial backgrounds, educational levels, and cultural and linguistic proximity to mainstream Americans. Quantitative results indicated that social support and integration with mainstream Americans were important factors of life satisfaction in general. However, analyses of comments to open-ended questions found that meanings of ‘successful aging’ vary among different ethnic groups and that generational arrangements were also different among these groups. Contextual implications concerning older immigrants’ life satisfaction will be discussed.



Author Information
Hisako Matsuo, Saint Louis University, United States
Lisa Willoughby, Saint Louis University, United States
Jennifer Hale-Gallardo, Saint Louis University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2014
Stream: Cultural Studies

This paper is part of the ACCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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